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Tilting at Windmills

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September 1, 2010

BIRTHERS PICK UP A CRAZED RETIRED GENERAL.... Dave Weigel has one of the day's more head-shaking stories.

I try to ignore the birther movement unless it inducts someone important -- a congressman, for example. The (sigh) American Patriot Foundation's announcement that Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney (ret.) has signed an affidavit supporting court martialed birther Lt. Col. Terry Lakin is actually a pretty big coup. [...]

And is McInerney a serious person? Yes. He's a West Point graduate who ran the Alaskan air command during the Exxon Valdez disaster.... Point is, he's not some kook, and now he's staking his reputation on... this.

The retired three-star Air Force Lieutenant General didn't just dip his toe into Birther waters, he did a belly flop into the pool. McInerney issued a bizarre statement, arguing that the White House needs to "reassure all military personnel once and for all for this President whether his service as Commander in Chief is Constitutionally proper." He added that Obama is facing "serious -- and widely held -- concerns that he is ineligible" for the presidency, and demanded that the president either "voluntarily establish his eligibility" or the courts must force the issue.

In other words, it's full-blown, Grade A, unhinged birther madness.

If McInerney's name sounds familiar, it's because you've probably seen him in the media. He's frequently on the air, calling for a war with Iran, for example. McInerney also recently made headlines for demanding that all young Muslim men "should be strip searched" before they're allowed to board an airplane, which he said is "not racial profiling."

Alas, there's a pattern of idiocy here. In 2002, for example, McInerney assured Americans the war in Iraq "will be a war that is shorter than" the 1991 Gulf War, which lasted 42 days. In 2005, McInerney insisted that terrorists no longer feel the need to attack inside the United States because we have "leftists in America who have aided and abetted the enemy more than Tokyo Rose did in World War II."

In 2006, McInerney was asked about the non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the basis for the U.S. invasion. He insisted, in all seriousness, that the weapons were in Iraq, before Russia secretly entered the country to move the stockpiles to Syria.

He's now an on-air contributor on national security issues for ... wait for it ... Fox News.

Update: Steve M. reminds me of some related elements of McInerney's background that I'd forgotten about, including his efforts to smear Joe Wilson, and his efforts to coordinate his media messages with the Bush White House:

Steve Benen 1:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (35)

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Comments

Yet another Air Force General sapped of his precious bodily fluids. . .

Posted by: DAY on September 1, 2010 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Given his track record and network affiliations, why the hell would Weigl opine that he's "not some kook?" He's a retired, batshit crazy mid-level manager, and should be treated as such.

Posted by: dr. bloor on September 1, 2010 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Could we please get someone to gag Simpson of the deficit reduction panel, he is now saying that veterans are not helping us get the country out of debt - Why? because those who have disabilities linked to Agent Orange exposure are getting disability payments.
My husband was exposed to Agent Orange, but is not getting any payment linked to it, I wonder if Simpson served in the military!
Could we add that millionaire republicans are not helping the country get out of debt, they stole our social security fund for their tax cuts and are ready now to ask for more tax cuts. Am I the only person that sees red every time they open their mouths.

Posted by: JS on September 1, 2010 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, this has very little to do with LTC Lakin's charges of missing a movement and failure to obey a lawful order. Case law is very clear about this to the point that even if the president was not legal or there was no president at all, you have to follow legal (meaning that the action you are ordered to do is facially legal) orders.

The purpose of these rulings is to A) establish the civilian control of the military and B) establish good order and discipline. When you join the military you give up certain civil rights and take on obligations including obeying all lawful orders. It does not mean that you can question orders based on personal preference or politics. To advocate otherwise is to encourage anarchy in the military and subsequently endanger the United States.

There are officers and enlisted out there who hold the birther thoughts, but if they interfere with the workings of the military by citing them and not obeying orders, they are committing a UCMJ crime.

LTC Lakin is being tried on the charges that he disobeyed orders and missed a movement. The philosophical ramblings of a retired general have no bearing. Neither does the eligiblitly of the president since he was constitutionally accepted as the winner of the election by the Congress. The only way he can be removed is by Congressional action, no court is going to mess with that.

Posted by: mikeyes on September 1, 2010 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

This is all about de-legitimzing any Democratic President. It doesn't matter who they are; the default view is that any Democratic president is by definition necessarily illegitimate.

If George Washington was a Democrat, they'd find a way to paint him as illegitimate.

That Obama is dark only adds to the ability to de-legitimize him, along with his name. Now, whether Obama is a liberal or progressive is certainly open to debate, but only Republicans are legitimate, and DC is wired for their control an no one else's.

Posted by: terraformer on September 1, 2010 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

"American Patriot Foundation???"

So, a group dedicated to discrediting a sitting American president — one who was elected by popular vote and not the Supreme Court — by reinvigorating a proven LIE has the balls to call itself "patriotic?"

Let's start a group called "Double Plus Good Americans Group!!!" Then let's throw everyone who isn't a member into prison.

Posted by: chrenson on September 1, 2010 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

What teraformer said! This is basically a worse version of what they did to Clinton, and it's fundamentally unpatriotic.

Posted by: threegoal on September 1, 2010 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

A stupid, half-demented right-wing general? Well, I never! Couldn't ever have been one of those in military history before.

Posted by: JMG on September 1, 2010 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Can retired military be sanctioned for this kind of behavior? My guess is no though I imagine if a sitting officer made a public statement like McNinny's there would be consequences of some kind. This guy's not technically in uniform but uses his service to vouch for his legitimacy -- and then sending smokesignals to those in uniform that he sympathizes basically with their insubordination. Some people will say anything for money!

Posted by: ManOutOfTime on September 1, 2010 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Almost any organization with the words Patriot Freedom or American in them is bound to be a front for a right wing radical group funded by billionaires. See: Americans for Prosperity and billionaire David Koch, currently funding anti Grayson and Kosmos ads in Florida.

Posted by: john R on September 1, 2010 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Boy, given that track record of paranoia (Russia moving Iraq's non-existent WMDs to Syria?!), how long until McInerney starts babbling about the threat to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids? Do women seek out his essence and does he thus deny them it?

Posted by: gf120581 on September 1, 2010 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Marx said that history repeats itself. The first time is tragedy, the second time is farce.
We may be seeing the reverse.
This time it is farce, but it may also be a foreshadowing of how a coup would be done in the US. Using some pretense to make the coup look like it was constitutional.
Not saying this will ever happen. Just that if it ever does, we may be seeing, in this farcical preview, what shape it might well take.

Posted by: Jessica on September 1, 2010 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

chrenson: more talk like that, and I'll take away your chocolate ration.

Posted by: terraformer on September 1, 2010 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

He's now an on-air contributor on national security issues for ... wait for it ... Fox News.

Is there any discredited, mentally unbalanced, paranoid, warmongering, extremist far-right fanatic in the country that FOX won't give a platform to?

Posted by: electrolite on September 1, 2010 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

This shouldn't get any traction, but if it does, we will need some sane person of equal or higher military rank (Clark?) to issue the proper smackdown.

Let's hope this guy STFU and it doesn't come to that, but I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by: bdop4 on September 1, 2010 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

McInerney also recently made headlines for demanding that all young Muslim men "should be strip searched" before they're allowed to board an airplane, which he said is "not racial profiling."

Well, to be fair to a lunatic bigot, McInerney is correct about that. A policy of strip searching "all young Muslim men" would not be "racial profiling." It would instead be religious profiling, which is also usually unconstitutional.

Posted by: Just Dropping By on September 1, 2010 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

LTC Lakin is being tried on the charges that he disobeyed orders and missed a movement. Obama's legitimacy is irrelevant to the orders disobeyed by Lakin. Those orders were not given to him directly by Obama nor did Obama initiate the actions that led to the orders to Lakin.

Posted by: H-Bob on September 1, 2010 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK
McInerney issued a bizarre statement, arguing that the White House needs to "reassure all military personnel once and for all for this President whether his service as Commander in Chief is Constitutionally proper." He added that Obama is facing "serious -- and widely held -- concerns that he is ineligible" for the presidency
He's frequently on the air, calling for a war with Iran
demanding that all young Muslim men "should be strip searched" before they're allowed to board an airplane
McInerney insisted that terrorists no longer feel the need to attack inside the United States because we have "leftists in America who have aided and abetted the enemy more than Tokyo Rose did in World War II."

Why the hell did Wiegel say he isn't a kook? Of course he is! Sure, his opinions may have a lot of currency among the cesspool that is modern movement conservatism, but the entire point is that modern movement conservatism is beyond "kooky."

Weigel does no one any favors validating this Bircher nutcase by giving him a veneer of mainstream respectability he doesn't deserve.

Posted by: Gregory on September 1, 2010 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

chrenson: more talk like that, and I'll [strike]take away[/strike] increase your chocolate ration.

Fixed.

Posted by: Gregory on September 1, 2010 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

He ran the Alaskan Air Command during the Exxon Valdez disaster? What the hell does the Alaskan Air Command have to do with the Exxon Valdez disaster? Or was the Exxon Valdez actually torpedoed by the Russians, and it's all a liberal plot to blame it on the oil companies?

Posted by: J. Frank Parnell on September 1, 2010 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Remember that in the show Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman the KKK renamed themselves the Glorious Guardians of Good... Because they had bad PR.

Meanwhile,

Boycott FOX
Boycott the Wall Street Journal

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on September 1, 2010 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

"Those orders were not given to him directly by Obama nor did Obama initiate the actions that led to the orders to Lakin. "

As I recall the decision to invade was made by Bush! That is who is beef is with! Is there any doubt he would go if McCain were president!

Posted by: mat1492 on September 1, 2010 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Seems all sorts of looneys managed to make it through the Academy. McCain is definitely insane and now McInerney has over polished his medals while pretending to hang himself, noose around neck, standing tippy-toe on a rocking chair while wearing his too-to.

We are witnessing FOX's national insanity club at its authoritarian best trying to sign up new members.

Posted by: bjobotts on September 1, 2010 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: terraformer on September 1, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Keep in mind the "irony" of Obama having a middle name of the Iraq dictator we were lied into deposing and invading his country. What are the odds? I mean is it fate or just God's sense of humor?

But whatever, it is at the core of forcing America to face its own hypocrisy...exactly why OBL won...he knew we were incapable of facing our own hypocrisy.

Posted by: bjobotts on September 1, 2010 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Watch for his buddy, MG(USAR, Ret'd) Paul Vallely to jump in. Remember Vallely -- he avowed that he overheard Amb Joe Wilson in conversations in Fox network's green room which blew Wilson's wife's, Valerie Plame's, CIA cover two years before the investigation began.

Posted by: Schmedlap on September 1, 2010 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

For me, the most amazing and understated line in McInerney's affidavit is this: "widespread and legitimate concerns that the President is constitutionally ineligible to hold office".

Widespread and legitmate? Why is anyone taking this guy seriously? WHY?

Posted by: Eclectablog on September 1, 2010 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Merciful heavens! How in the world did Thomas McInerney ever even make into the USAF officer corps, let alone all the way up the ladder to lieutenant general? From the moment he opens his mouth and starts speaking, it's quickly and abundantly clear that the man is an absolute fool!

Is the U.S. military really that desperate for top brass, that they'd elevate someone who can't find his own ass in broad daylight with both hands, a mirror and a map?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 1, 2010 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Is there any doubt he would go if McCain were president!

... and McCain wasn't even born in the U.S. !!

Posted by: G.Kerby on September 1, 2010 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, I have to agree that the disturbing thing here is Weigel, aka, the "reasonable conservative." He rattles off this nut's credentials and his BIRTHERISM and then concludes he's a "serious person" (who happens to be, you know, a BIRTHER).

Also, Weigel is laboring under the delusion that this guy is risking his reputation by coming out of the closet as fringe. What freaking conservative has LOST anything by embracing these fringe destructive repellent or just flat wrong and ill-informed positions? They don't lose from this nonsense they gain. See, e.g., Palin, loser/quitter and "political genius" who controls the conversation via Facebook where she counsels on "death panels" and helps "good Muslims" see how correctly to practice their faith and, alsotoo, fights to save the Constitution.

Posted by: ERNYC on September 1, 2010 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii:

"Merciful heavens! How in the world did Thomas McInerney ever even make into the USAF officer corps, let alone all the way up the ladder to lieutenant general?"

Easy,this is the USAF in action. It is not like other services. They serve the USAF first and think like GM -- what's good for the USAF is good for the nation. They'd steal a morsel off an orphan's plate if it added one more dollar to their budget. And God help the officer who does not fall in line.

Posted by: Schmedlap on September 2, 2010 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

Given that the Hair Farce is overrun with far right Christian conservatives (what do you think all that evangelizing at their trade school in Colorado Springs accomplished over the years?), this is far from surprising.

You'd think that the armed service whose existence is most tied to modern science would be run by people who don't believe that airplanes fly because angels hold up the wings, but you'd be wrong if you thought they didn't.

Posted by: TCinLA on September 2, 2010 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

In what way, shape or form does this guy qualify as "not a kook"?

Posted by: dp on September 2, 2010 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

Having in my own family a considerable representation of the United States Air Force, I feel the need to share a couple of insights. First, "served honorably," while laudable, carries no one-to-one correlation with having any leadership qualities, education, or common sense as we understand it out here in the real world. Second, acquiring a few stars is not the equivalent of acquiring advanced abilities, knowledge, insight, or wisdom. Two things are true about advancement, be it in the military or elsewhere. Number 1: Cream rises to the top. Number 2: Shit floats. Guess which one is true about this guy.

Posted by: Thisby on September 2, 2010 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

How did Weigel get annointed as a serious person? All of his stuff I've seen has been rather like drivel.

Posted by: smintheus on September 2, 2010 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

Maj.Gen. Jerry Curry : Obama's Eligibility Issue Moving Toward Critical Mass
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TmTqvIhLig

Posted by: 68Truthseeker on September 4, 2010 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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